Canal Plus and its Italian pay-TV operation TelePiu have pledged to step up their involvement in Italian films by investing L90bn in 2000-2001, compared to L60bn in 1998-1999.

The agreement, signed April 6 with Italian minister of culture Giovanna Melandri, is the second step in a two-part deal. The first step was signed January 22, 1998, with Melandri's predecessor Walter Veltroni.

TelePiu, which counts 1,500,000 subscribers to date, is to co-produce and pre-buy not only Italian feature films, but also short films and documentaries.

The group has also pledged to favour the broadcast of Italian films on its pay services TelePiu and D+, as well as on its other European pay-TV platforms.